Chargrilled pork chops with broken rice & egg

Chargrilled pork chops with broken rice & egg

Cơm bì suon

Street Food Asia
Alan Benson

Here’s another of my favourite dishes and it’s one that I have for lunch two, or even three, times a week when I’m in Saigon. It not only packs a ton of flavour but has a cool backstory too. When rice is milled to separate the husks from the grains, some grains end up breaking in the process and need to be separated out from the first grade, undamaged rice. Back in the day, poor rice farmers would save this broken rice and eat it as a cheap source of food. Today, it’s become something of a delicacy for the Vietnamese and is so sought after that it’s actually rather expensive to buy. I love the irony of this. Why do Vietnamese people love broken rice so much? I think it’s because of the texture, which is something quite special. The marinated pork in this dish requires the smokiness that comes from chargrilling to taste right, even though some vendors pan-fry it instead. So when you go to Saigon, look for ones that grill over coals. To serve, the pork goes on the rice with coriander, some cucumber, tomatoes and a bit of spring onion oil. On goes a fried egg, some lap cheong (optional; see glossary) and with tasty nuoc cham on the side, it’s a perfect light meal for any time of the day.


Quantity Ingredient
4 x 200g thin pork loin chops, (about 1 cm/½ in thick)
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil


Quantity Ingredient
4 tablespoons oyster sauce
4 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon sugar
1 lemongrass stem, chopped, white part only
12 spring onions, bashed, white part only
1 garlic clove, crushed
125ml vegetable oil

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
800g steamed broken rice
1 tablespoon Spring onion oil
1 red bird’s eye chilli, sliced
1 small handful coriander leaves
2 lebanese cucumbers, sliced
2 ripe tomatoes, sliced
125ml Nuoc cham, for dipping


  1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Bash the pork loin chops, one at a time, with a meat mallet to a 5 mm thickness. Place in the marinade and turn until well coated, then cover and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
  3. Heat a chargrill pan or barbecue chargrill to medium–high. Chargrill the chops for 2 minutes, then turn them 90 degrees (on the same side) and cook for another 2 minutes – this should create a criss-cross pattern on the meat. Turn the chops over and repeat this process on the other side.
  4. Meanwhile, fry your eggs. Heat the oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium–low heat. Crack the eggs into the pan – if the oil starts to spit it’s too hot, so turn the heat down – and cook until the tops of the whites are set but the yolks are still runny.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat, and remove the eggs using a spatula. Place the eggs on a plate and dab with paper towels to soak up any excess oil. Set aside.
  6. To serve, divide the broken rice and cutlets between four plates. Place a fried egg on top of each cutlet and drizzle over the spring onion oil. Garnish with the sliced chilli and coriander and accompany with the cucumber, tomato and nuoc cham.
South-East Asian
Street Food
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